How should the United States respond to developments in military technology, a changing world political order, and the growing threat on non-state actors such as terrorists?
Today’s system puts the lives of first responders and the public at risk. What’s needed is a nationwide broadband network, and policymakers now have a perfect opportunity to act. At 9:59 a.m. on September 11, 2001, the first of many evacuation orders was transmitted to police and firefighters in the World Trade Center’s North Tower. Police heard the order, and most left safely. But firefighters could not receive the order on their communications equipment—even as people watching television at home knew of the tragedy unfolding. When the tower fell 29 minutes after the first evacuation order, 121 firefighters were still inside. None survived.
More than five years after 9/11, the federal government has yet to come to grips with basic questions about priorities, roles, and funding. In August 2006, British authorities announced that they had uncovered a plot in which liquid explosives would be used to destroy airliners en route from England to the United States. When the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) responded by banning all liquids and gels from passenger aircraft cabins, it was widely reported that such action was necessary because existing screening equipment could not detect the kind of explosives involved in the plot. This is perhaps understandable, given the daunting technological challenge of developing detectors that are not only sensitive enough to identify explosives from among the wide array of liquids routinely carried on aircraft, but also compact and affordable enough to be widely deployed and quick enough to not unduly impede passenger flow.
Although the geopolitical map of the future differs significantly from that of the past 60 years, deterrence remains a linchpin of global security. The most significant event of the past 60 years is the one that did not happen: the use of a nuclear weapon in conflict. One of the most important questions of the next 60 years is whether we can repeat this feat.
We are vulnerable to catastrophic acts of chemical terrorism such as this plausible scenario. There are 360 sites sprinkled across the United States where, if terrorists attacked, more than 50,000 people at each could be harmed or killed. Many of them are in heavily populated areas of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana, and California. Yet the federal government has made no progress whatever in addressing this threat in the five years since the 9/11 attacks.
The 21st century demands a more expansive understanding of national security. Imagine the 21st century as a three-dimensional chess game. One dimension represents the United States. One dimension represents the world of nation-states. The third dimension—a new one— represents stateless nations.
Bioscientists must work closely with the government to minimize the possibility that vitally important research could be misused to threaten public health or national security. The anthrax attacks that closely followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks helped create a sense that danger was everywhere. They also helped create a crisis for science. Government statements that the anthrax attacks had most likely been carried out by a U.S.-based microbiologist who had obtained the deadly Ames strain of Bacillus anthracis from a culture collection raised serious concerns about the security of potentially dangerous biological agents as well as the trustworthiness of scientists. The U.S. public began to take a dual view of the scientific community: capable of doing both great good (lifesaving medical treatments) and great harm (research that could be abused by terrorists).
The quadrennial review fails to realign the military to defend against new threats or reorder funding priorities to meet those threats. The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be. This witty observation by 19th century French poet Paul Valery captures precisely the ever-changing nature of today’s global security environment. Consider the events and changes since 2001: the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. commitment to a long-term campaign against radical Islamism, the threat of increased nuclear proliferation, and the continued growth of Chinese military capabilities along disturbing lines. This was the environment confronted by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and defense planners in preparing the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which is required by law every fours years and which was recently submitted to Congress.
The United States should take the lead in making the use of nuclear weapons unacceptable under any but the most extenuating circumstances. Facing up to the threat will require more than tracking down terrorists or warning rogue states that they will be held accountable for their actions. It will require delegitimizing nuclear weapons as usable instruments of warfare and relegating them to a deterrent role or, in certain cases, to weapons of last resort. This policy change will be difficult to adopt, because the nation’s leaders as well as the general public have lost sight of the devastating power of nuclear weapons and tend to disregard the political and moral taboos surrounding their use.
The country’s slow and indirect progress toward developing nuclear weapons cunningly skirts international nonproliferation rules. Careful diplomacy can stop Iran from achieving this destabilizing capability. The world would be a more dangerous place with nuclear weapons in Iran. A Persian power with a keen sense of its 2,500-year history, Iran occupies a pivotal position straddling the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf. The country has the largest population in the Middle East, the world’s third largest oil reserves, the second largest natural gas reserves, and aspirations to again become the region’s major power. Add nuclear weapons, and this mixture become highly combustible.
To deal with terrorist threats, the government must engage in more deeply rooted collaboration with the private sector. In protecting critical infrastructure, the responsibility for setting goals rests primarily with the government, but the implementation of steps to reduce the vulnerability of privately owned and corporate assets depends primarily on private-sector knowledge and action. Although private firms uniquely understand their operations and the hazards they entail, it is clear that they currently do not have adequate commercial incentive to fund vulnerability reduction. For many, the cost of reducing vulnerabilities outweighs the benefit of reduced risk from terrorist attacks as well as from natural and other disasters.
The United States can fight an effective war on terrorism while still substantially cutting defense spending. For fiscal year (FY) 2005, military spending will be nearly 0 billion, which is greater in real terms than during any of the Reagan years and surpassed only by spending at the end of World War II in 1945 and 1946 and during the Korean War in 1952. The White House is asking for an FY 2006 Department of Defense (DOD) budget of 3.9 billion, which does not include funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Presidential leadership is the key to accelerating progress on securing nuclear weapons and materials. In their presidential contest, President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry agreed that the most deadly danger facing the United States is the possibility that terrorists could obtain a nuclear bomb. Fortunately, if effective action is taken now, we have a good chance to prevent such a catastrophe from ever occurring.
The Navy is wisely preparing to introduce a new ship design, but it should evaluate the prototypes comprehensively before moving into production. In November 2001, the U.S. Navy announced a new family of 21st century surface warships that includes a small, focused-mission combatant called the Littoral Combat Ship, or LCS. The LCS would be a fast, stealthy warship designed specifically for operations in shallow coastal waters. It would have a modular mission payload, allowing it to take on three naval threats—diesel submarines, mines, and small “swarming” boats—but only one at a time.
The updated military excelled in Afghanistan and Iraq, but further progress must be supported now to ensure long-term security. On taking office in 2001, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced his intention to transform the U.S. armed forces to meet today's threats of rogue states and transnational terrorism. The effectiveness of U.S. fighting forces in Afghanistan and Iraq indicate that the transformation, which some have called a "revolution in military affairs," is on the right path. But many technical challenges remain to be met, and today's headlines make it clear that the end of combat between organized armed forces does not necessarily herald the end of a war. If the United States chooses to rest on its military laurels, the nation may in the long run lose the great benefits that have accrued from the armed forces' efforts thus far.
President Eisenhower's hopes for nuclear technology still resonate, but the challenges of fulfilling them are much different today. On December 8, 1953, President Eisenhower, returning from his meeting with the leaders of Britain and France at the Bermuda Summit, flew directly to New York to address the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. His presentation, known afterward as the "Atoms for Peace" speech, was bold, broad, and visionary. Eisenhower highlighted dangers associated with the further spread of nuclear weapons and the end of the thermonuclear monopoly, but he also pointed to opportunities. Earlier that year, Stalin had died and the Korean War armistice was signed. Talks on reunifying Austria were about to begin. The speech sought East-West engagement and outlined a framework for reducing nuclear threats to security while enhancing the civilian benefits of nuclear technology. One specific proposal offered to place surplus military fissile material under the control of an "international atomic energy agency" to be used for peaceful purposes, especially economic development. Eisenhower clearly recognized the complex interrelationships between different nuclear technologies and the risks and the benefits that accrue from each. The widespread use of civilian nuclear technology and the absence of any use of a nuclear weapon during the half-century after his speech reflect the success of his approach.
New security challenges and improved conventional weapons mean new roles and requirements for nuclear weapons. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) has become a metaphor for 21st-century security concerns. Although nuclear weapons have not been used since the end of World War II, their influence on international security affairs is pervasive, and possession of WMD remains an important divide in international politics today.
An updated Atoms for Peace program is needed to help solve problems of national and international security brought about by increased civilian use of nuclear energy. Fifty years ago, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower unveiled the Atoms for Peace program. In a widely noted speech to the United Nations (UN), he called on the United States and other nations to "make joint contributions from stockpiles of normal uranium and fissionable materials to an international atomic energy agency" that likely would operate under the aegis of the UN. This agency would be responsible for securing and protecting the accumulated materials. But more important, the materials "would be allocated to serve the peaceful pursuits of mankind. Experts would be mobilized to apply atomic energy to the needs of agriculture, medicine, and other peaceful activities. A special purpose would be to provide abundant electrical energy in the power-starved areas of the world. Thus contributing powers would be dedicating some of their strength to serve the needs rather than the fears of mankind." The United States, Eisenhower declared, "would be more than willing--it would be proud--to take up with others 'principally involved' the development of plans whereby such peaceful use of atomic energy would be expedited."
Contrary to popular belief, with a little technological innovation, deterrence can become a useful strategy against terrorist use of nuclear weapons. Has terrorism made deterrence obsolete? President Bush articulated the prevailing view in his June 2002 West Point address: "Deterrence--the promise of massive retaliation against nations--means nothing against shadowy terrorist networks with no nation or citizens to defend. Containment is not possible when unbalanced dictators with weapons of mass destruction can deliver those weapons on missiles or secretly provide them to terrorist allies." Debate over missile defense aside, U.S. foreign policy thinkers have largely accepted his reasoning, though they argue on the margins over how unbalanced most dictators are.
Although the U.S. government has stepped up efforts to prevent acts of radiological terrorism, significant gaps in security remain to be filled. The catastrophic attacks of September 11, 2001, and the anthrax mailings that took place shortly thereafter highlighted the nation’s vulnerability to unconventional forms of terrorism. One type of threat that has recently received close attention from policymakers and the news media is the potential for attacks with radiological dispersal devices (RDDs). Such weapons, which include so-called dirty bombs, are designed to spread radioactive contamination, causing panic and disruption over a wide area. The number and diversity of radioactive sources pose a serious security challenge, and the United States has yet to take all the necessary steps to strengthen controls to match the heightened terrorist threat.
During the past decade, the United States and Russia have joined in a number of efforts to reduce the danger posed by the enormous quantity of weapons-usable material withdrawn from nuclear weapons. Other countries and various private groups have assisted in this task. But many impediments have prevented effective results, and most of the dangers still remain. Even more troubling, this threat is only one of several risks imposed on humanity by the existence of nuclear weapons.
In the early 1990s, the Department of Defense's (DOD's) Office of Net Assessment concluded that the world was probably entering a period of military revolution, or "revolution in military affairs." DOD's leadership soon accepted that a military revolution was under way and that the U.S. military would need to transform itself into a different kind of fighting force in order to meet new kinds of challenges, as well as to exploit the potential of rapidly advancing information-related technologies that seemed to be driving dramatic change in so many other areas of human endeavor. A decade and a series of stunning U.S. military operations later, it would be easy to conclude that the revolution has arrived. A closer inspection of the evidence, however, indicates that such a conclusion is probably premature.
By the early 1980s, the technology was in hand to define "smart weapons" that could fill at least three important military purposes. First, guided weapons could provide theater-range artillery fire accurately across an entire battle area, when linked with a theater-wide surveillance system to identify and locate targets. Second, advanced surveillance systems could be used to mount an effective theater-wide air defense using surface-to-air missiles. Third, electronics could be employed in handheld antitank weapons that would make it possible to activate and deactivate these weapons from a central location, making possible wide distribution, even to militias, without fear of their misuse. How have these possible applications played out?
Twenty years ago, the United States was in the midst of a Cold War military buildup targeted against the Soviet Union and the other Warsaw Pact countries. Today there is no Soviet Union, Russia is no longer the enemy, and many of the former Warsaw Pact countries are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The nation now is engaged in a war against "terrorists and tyrants," which began with the attacks of September 11, 2001, and was officially declared in the National Security Strategy document released on September 17, 2002.
Incapacitants developed for use by law enforcement are more likely to be used by dictators, terrorists, or criminals. On October 26, 2002, approximately 50 Chechen separatist guerrillas took over a Moscow theater, holding about 750 people hostage. The hostage-takers were well armed with automatic weapons and grenades, and the females were wired with high explosives. They demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya, and threatened to kill the hostages and themselves if their demand was not met. The Russian government refused to negotiate. On the 28th, Russian special forces troops stormed the theater, first releasing a potent narcotic (a derivative of the opiate anesthetic fentanyl) into the ventilation system. When the troops burst into the main hall, they found the hostages and hostage-takers in a coma. The unconscious Chechens were all shot dead at point blank range, and the hostages were rushed to hospitals. In the end, approximately 125 hostages died of overdose; the rest--more than 600--survived. A number of the survivors are likely to have permanent disability. Opiate overdose causes respiratory depression that can starve the brain of oxygen, causing permanent brain damage when prolonged. It took hours to evacuate and treat the hostages. Aspiration pneumonia, a frequent complication of opiate overdose, may also cause permanent damage.
The U.S.'s stubborn refusal to accede to world opinion no longer makes sense and is further dimming its leadership status. Throughout the twentieth century, U.S. foreign policy was pulled in contrary directions by the muscle-flexing appeal of realism and the utopian promise of liberalism. At the end of the cold war, many pundits suggested that liberalism, having won the ideological battle against Marxism, was now poised to shape and inform the policy realm. But as the debate over banning antipersonnel landmines (APLs) makes clear, the tension between realism and liberalism is alive and well.
New tactical bombs would have little military value and would undercut U.S. nonproliferation efforts. Does the United States need nuclear bombs to destroy enemy bunkers and chemical or biological weapons? For some people, the answer is clear. Strong proponents of nuclear weapons speak of the need to give the president every possible military option, and the Bush administration's 2002 Nuclear Posture Review reflects this affirmative response. On the other side, committed opponents maintain that no potential military capability could justify designing--let alone building or using--new nuclear bombs. For both camps, the details of the proposed weapons are irrelevant.
Government is not doing all it could to research the problem or to exercise its proper regulatory role. With information technology (IT) permeating every niche of the economy and society, the public has become familiar with the dark side of the information revolution--information warfare, cybercrime, and other potential ways nefarious parties might try to do harm by attacking computers, communications systems, or electronic databases. The threats people fear range from nuisance pranksters abusing the World Wide Web, to theft or fraud, to a cataclysmic meltdown of the information infrastructure and everything that depends on it. As IT becomes more tightly woven into all aspects of everyday life, the public is developing an understanding that disruption of this electronic infrastructure could have dire--conceivably even catastrophic--consequences. During the past decade, government officials, technology specialists, policy analysts, industry leaders, and the general public have all become more concerned about "cybersecurity"--the challenge of protecting information systems. Prodigious efforts have been expended during this time to make information systems more secure, but a close examination of what has been achieved reveals that we still have work to do.
Some hasty government responses to September 11 posed problems for universities; with a more collaborative approach, higher education can play a vital role. When our nation was attacked, we knew that the world was changing before our eyes; that terrorists were using the freedoms and openness we had taken for granted against us and that our lives would never be the same. As members of the science and technology community, we also knew that we would have key roles to play in ensuring the future safety of our country. Our nation's scientists working in academe, industry, and government have traditionally stepped up to the plate when needed to work toward national goals, and clearly this has already begun. Even now, many are involved in small and large ways as civic scientists engaged in civic duty.
The Bush administration's proposals for bolstering the treaty are useful but inadequate. In the fall of 2001, letters sent through the U.S. mail containing powdered anthrax bacterial spores killed five people, infected 18 others, disrupted the operations of all three branches of the U.S. government, forced tens of thousands to take prophylactic antibiotics, and frightened millions of Americans. This incident demonstrated the deadly potential of bioterrorism and raised serious concerns about the nation's ability to defend itself against more extensive attacks.
The infrastructure cannot be made invulnerable, but the industry can improve its ability to provide service even when attacked. The 2001 terrorist attacks made it clear that our airliners, tall buildings, water, and even our mail are potential targets. What will actually be attacked depends on the terrorists' goals, the damage that could be done, and our ability to protect each one. Terrorists attack highly visible, symbolic targets in order to make each of us fear that "this could happen to me." Although it is impossible to prevent terrorists from causing disruptions in a free society, much can be done to limit their ability to spread panic.
A more concerted effort is needed to reduce wasteful spending and correct poor management practices. The U.S. defense industry is hardly a bastion of free market competition. The industry has a socialist component: government laboratories, shipyards, depots, and arsenals that, in many cases, compete with private companies. Even the part of the industry that is in private hands is subjected to the Department of Defense's (DOD's) industrial policy and excessive regulation. Congress, to win votes in states and districts that are home to defense firms, keeps unneeded government and private facilities open through phony competitions, creating much excess capacity in an industry that was insufficiently downsized after the Cold War.
If we're going to pursue this strategy, let's do so in a realistic way that minimizes the economic and political costs. The United States is in the midst of its third major debate on nationwide ballistic missile defense--the first culminating in the 1972 ABM Treaty and the second sparked by President Reagan's "Star Wars" speech in 1983. This time the Cold War is over, the objectives for the defense are limited, and technology has advanced to the point where some options may be technically feasible.
The terrorist attacks have once again exposed wide-ranging flaws in the agency's operations. One week after the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, national security adviser Condoleeza Rice told the press: "This isn't Pearl Harbor." No, it's worse. Sixty years ago, the United States did not have a director of central intelligence and 13 intelligence agencies with a combined budget of more than billion to produce an early warning against our enemies.
A new federal agency is needed to rapidly develop and deploy technologies that will limit our vulnerability to terrorism. On September 11th, our complex national aviation infrastructure became a brilliant weapons delivery system, both stealthy and asymmetrical. The attack was so successful that we should expect this and other like-minded groups to strike again at our homeland. The nation has rallied to improve security at airports, public buildings, and other likely targets. But these efforts have made painfully clear how vulnerable the country is to attackers willing to kill not only innocent civilians but themselves as well. Much must be done in all areas of homeland security before Americans feel safe again. Technology will have to play a critical role. Indeed, technology will be every bit as important in ensuring homeland security as it has been historically in creating military dominance for the armed services. Of course, technology has already been enlisted in areas such as airport security, and technology exists that can be applied to homeland protection. But much work could be done to find additional ways in which existing technology could enhance security and to do the research needed to develop new technology to meet security needs. The United States has no organization or system in place to fund and coordinate this technology development effort, and we cannot expect the effort to organize itself. We need to evaluate carefully what our homeland security needs are, think creatively about how technology can help meet those needs, and put in place a federal entity with the wherewithal to marshal and direct the resources necessary. A survey of the most obvious areas of national vulnerability demonstrates the profound need for accelerated technology development and deployment.
Joint efforts to improve nuclear security are endangered by other political disputes. We must maintain the pace of progress. Anticipating that nuclear proliferation problems might erupt from the disintegration of the Soviet Union a decade ago, the United States created a security agenda for working jointly with Russia to reduce the threat posed by the legacy of the Soviet nuclear arsenal. These cooperative efforts have had considerable success. Yet today, the administrations of both President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin are neglecting the importance of current nuclear security cooperation.
A large dose of presidential courage will be required to effect the drastic changes needed in weapons spending priorities. In a major speech on defense policy at the Citadel military academy in South Carolina during the 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush advocated taking advantage of today's relatively benign international environment to modernize existing weapons only selectively and skip a generation of military technology. Bush said his goal would be to move beyond marginal improvements by replacing existing programs with new technologies and strategies. To achieve this technological leap forward, he pledged to "earmark at least 20 percent of the [Department of Defense's (DOD's)] procurement budget for acquisition programs that propel America generations ahead in military technology." In addition, he promised to "commit an additional billion to defense R&D between the time I take office and 2006."
The drive for national missile defense could cripple almost a half-century of efforts to control and reduce nuclear arms. Several prominent themes have emerged in the U.S. national security debate during the past few years: a trend toward unilateralism, a desire to be rid of the strictures of international conventions, and a quest for a more "realist" foreign policy. These themes form a useful background to forecasting the Bush administration's likely policies on key national security and arms control issues. Unfortunately, when coupled with campaign speeches, cabinet confirmation hearings, and initial statements by senior officials, these themes, which are endorsed by a powerful conservative minority in Congress, suggest that the administration will not actively pursue traditional arms control policies or programs.
Cooperation between the government and industry is essential to protecting the nation's information infrastructure. During the past several years, military officials have become concerned about the possibility that a foreign adversary might strike at U.S. computers, communications networks, and databases. Although such an "information warfare" attack could be part of a larger conventional military operation, it is also possible that an adversary might use information warfare (or IW, to use the Pentagon shorthand) as a warning shot to dissuade the United States from helping an ally abroad or as part of a limited terrorist campaign.
Buy fewer next-generation planes, upgrade existing ones, and make money available to better prepare for emerging challenges. During the next few decades, the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps plan to buy three new types of fighters, some 3,700 aircraft altogether, at a cost likely to reach nearly 0 billion. These plans are almost certainly unaffordable. Worse yet, even if fully implemented, they may leave the U.S. military ill-prepared to meet the very different and, compared to today, far more serious challenges that are likely to emerge 10 to 20 years from now. Fortunately, there is a more affordable approach that would allow the United States to meet its near-term security requirements as well as to better prepare itself for meeting long-term challenges. It would combine purchases of a smaller number of next-generation fighters with continued purchases of new or upgraded current-generation aircraft and modest cuts in the number of fighter wings. It would also defer production of one of the new fighters for at least five years. Not only would this approach be more affordable, it would be wiser.
As implementation begins, the United States must resist the temptation to water own the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Leave it to Washington to toil for more than two decades to create a new arms control regime that abolishes poison gas and then, once it takes off, to begin foolishly undercutting its own achievement by trying to water down the treaty's verification provisions. But that is exactly what Congress is trying to do and it must be dissuaded.
The number of nuclear weapons has declined, but further cuts and other safety measures are needed. The world got through the half century since Hiroshima and Nagasaki with no further use of nuclear weapons in conflict and with a degree of restraint in avoiding major war among the great powers that could very well have been due to the cautionary influence exerted by the existence of nuclear weapons. But the nuclear weapons era has entailed considerable costs and dangers-above all the risk that the unimaginable destruction of nuclear war would be unleashed by accident or error or by escalation from a conventional conflict or a crisis. Also, the risk has always been present that the major powers' prominent reliance on nuclear deterrence and the possible use of nuclear weapons in war fighting would promote nuclear proliferation among more and more countries.
The increasing effectiveness of U.S. conventional weapons is making large cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal possible. For 50 years, nuclear weapons have been central to U.S. military strategy-an indispensable element in deterring and retaliating against an attack on U.S. territory. Now, six years after the end of the Cold War, it is time to question that centrality. In the years ahead, the utility of the U.S. nuclear arsenal will likely be eclipsed by the capabilities of a host of emerging conventional and electronic weapons; weapons that are highly precise and lethal but do not produce the horrific destruction of a nuclear bomb.
Political pressures make it difficult to prevent defense needs from squeezing out commercial considerations. The Clinton administration began with high hopes for its plan to forge a stronger link between military and commercial technologies. Observers inside as well as outside the administration argued that the Technology Reinvestment Project (TRP), designed to propel the development of commercial technologies critical to the military, could spur innovation throughout industry, give U.S. firms a new edge in international competition, and help ease the post-Cold War conversion of the defense industrial base to commercial production. These high expectations paved the way for rapid congressional approval of the effort. At the same time, they saddled the program with the burden of meeting objectives that it was never designed to achieve.
Research to meet future national security needs must take precedence over pork-barrel contracts. Throughout history, each time our nation has ended a war we have cut back our weapons arsenals and smartly propped up R&D to prepare for future enemies. But since the Cold War's end, we have done the exact opposite. We have propped up commercial contractors' production lines and risked shortchanging experimentation.
Shifting resources to invest in new technologies is vital for creating the lean, mean fighting force needed to counter emerging threats. With the election behind us, the Pentagon is gearing up to conduct a congressionally required top-to-bottom review of its six-year, .5-trillion program. In doing so, it will confront a number of difficult decisions about the size and structure of the armed forces. The United States must continue to field large, diverse forces to carry out today's missions. Yet at the same time, we need to spend a substantially greater amount than we do today on new systems, both to meet the emerging challenges posed by potential adversaries and to renew the military's existing capital stock. In an era of tight resources and competing priorities, it is unlikely that future budgets will be sufficient to support the force structure we field today.
To meet emerging threats, it should deemphasize manned aircraft and move toward space systems and unmanned aerial vehicles. On the night of January 16-17, 1991, the United States launched an air war against Iraq after diplomatic efforts to end that country's invasion of Kuwait had failed. U.S. air and naval forces employed stealth aircraft, long-range cruise missiles, and precision-guided "smart" munitions (PGMs) for the first time together in substantial numbers. The results were devastating. The Iraqi air defense network was quickly disabled, and the Iraqi leadership's command and control of its forces was ruptured. Iraqi aircraft could not survive in the air or even in hardened shelters on the ground; many simply abandoned the fight and flew to safety in Iran. Although the effectiveness of U.S. PGMs was not as great as originally believed, the overall accuracy of the weapons was a vast improvement over their "dumb" ancestors.
With no major threat in sight, the Pentagon should ease up on its planned buying spree and focus more on nonmilitary means of bolstering U.S. security. The end of the Cold War set off contentious debate about what constitutes the most effective and least expensive security policy for the United States. A central issue has been the size, pace, and direction of efforts to develop new and improved weapons to meet emerging threats. Although congressional leaders have called for rapid increases in funding for weapons modernization, most of the new weapons spending in the past two budgets has been devoted to older, existing weapon systems and to accelerating R&D funding of new systems in areas where threats are, arguably, dubious. The Clinton administration has argued that congressional add-ons will jeopardize its modernization budget, which is slated to grow to billion in FY2001, a 40 percent real increase over the president's FY1997 request. Critics, however, blame both Congress and the administration for failing to curtail funding for Cold War-era systems, such as the B-2 bomber and the Seawolf submarine, and for modernization programs that lack a coherent rationale in the post-Cold War world, notably the New Attack Submarine and national ballistic missile defense.
The post-Cold War Navy is relying too much on the carrier. It needs new strategies--and a very different kind of fleet. On June 26, 1897, Great Britain's Royal Navy conducted a review in honor of Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. The review represented the greatest concentration of naval power the world had ever seen. At the heart of that power were the Royal Navy's battleships, row upon row of them.